The Feds Want To Know Why The Hell McDonald's McFlurry Machines Are Always Broken

by Christina Marfice
Justin Sullivan/Getty

If you’ve ever wondered why the ice cream machines always seem to be broken at McDonald’s, don’t worry — the feds are on the case

Anyone who loves them a McFlurry or a cheap ice cream sundae knows the struggle: The ice cream machines at McDonald’s are broken all the damn time. You know how it goes. It’s a hot day. An ice cream cone would really hit the spot, so you pull into the nearest McD’s drive-thru — but their soft serve machine is down. So you go to the next closest McDonald’s, and theirs is down, too. And another, and another. It’s a problem so prevalent that some hero McFlurry fan actually created an API that shows on a real-time map where you can find a McD’s with a working ice cream machine.

But fear not, fellow McFlurry lovers. Our struggles have finally fallen on sympathetic ears. The case of the broken ice cream machines has been escalated to the highest level. Y’all, the FTC has launched an investigation into those damn ice cream machines to figure out why they’re broken all the time.

Yes, the FTC, as in the Federal Trade Commission. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, investigators from the federal agency started reaching out to McDonald’s franchises over the summer, asking some very pointed questions about their ice cream machines. Franchise owners were quick to spill the tea: The McFlurry machines are overly complex, and difficult to repair should they ever break down.

“The machines require a nightly automated heat cleaning cycle that can last up to four hours to destroy bacteria,” the WSJ reported. But McDonald’s franchise owners said it’s not uncommon for the cleaning cycle to fail, meaning they can’t use their ice cream machines until a repair technician is able to get it working again.

In light of the investigation, McDonald’s released a statement, saying, “Intrinsic to the interest in our soft serve machines is our fans’ love of McDonald’s iconic McFlurry desserts and shakes. Nothing is more important to us than delivering on our high standards for food quality and safety, which is why we work with fully vetted partners that can reliably provide safe solutions at scale. McDonald’s has no reason to believe we are the focus of an FTC investigation.”

Which, TBH, sounds exactly like someone under an FTC investigation would say.

Will this investigation change anything? Will McDonald’s face any punishment for its years of teasing us with a menu full of frozen treats we can’t actually have? Only time will tell, but FTC guys, if you’re reading this, I’ll totally buy you a McFlurry for this important work you’re doing.